The future of health care has been in the news a lot recently. The intended repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare" has generated more questions than answers.
However, one thing is for certain. The upcoming plight of Colorado's rural hospitals is not in question. Last year, the state Legislature voted not to set up the Hospital Provider Fee as a separate enterprise fund that would provide vital funding to the state's hospitals, many of which are already operating at a loss.
To put this situation in perspective, you must first understand the history of the issue. In 1986, President Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act into law. The law stipulates that all hospitals must provide life-saving care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay for the services. While well-intentioned, the EMTLA became an unfunded mandate for hospitals.